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Andrea Mitchell Reports

News/Business. Interviews with political figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.

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Syria 9, United States 9, Us 7, Kerry 6, Ann 6, Lyrica 5, Benedict 5, Obama 5, U.s. 4, Prada 4, Rome 4, Warfarin 3, Sandy 3, Sean Donovan 3, John Paul 3, John Kerry 3, Lebanon 3, Washington 3, Iran 3, New York 3,
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  MSNBC    Andrea Mitchell Reports    News/Business. Interviews with political  
   figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.  

    February 28, 2013
    10:00 - 11:00am PST  

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benedict xvi becomes the first pope to abdicate in 700 years. >> his final day begins with a meeting with the cardinals who lined up one by one to say their personal good-byes. as the pope pledged unconditional obedience to his successor. >> we catholics call him our holy father. he is like the papa, the daddy of the family, and to see this
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gentle, learned, lovely holy man, to see him very fragile, to see him having made what i consider to be a remarkably humble and courageous decision, it was very moving. it was a very tender movement. >> pope benedict then left the vatican by helicopter to begin his retirement at castle gondolpho where emrerjed a while ago to greet well wishers who have gathered in the paizza. piazza. the papal summer retreat will be benedict's temporary residence. he will be watching from the sidelines as the cardinals begin the task of choosing a new leader for the catholic church. also in rome today secretary of state john kerry meeting for the first time with syrian rebel leaders to announce a major shift in u.s. policy, but is it enough? for the first time the u.s. will send nonlethal aid to op sfwligs fighters. >> the united states' decision
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to take further steps now is the result of the continued brutality of a superior armed force. propped up by foreign fighters from iran and hezbollah. >> going nowhere. less than 24 hours to go and the senate stages two votes, but with no chance of either succeeding. $85 billion in across the board cuts, the so-called sequester, are going to kick in. >> we're going to go through a charade here in a little while. we're going to have a vote on the democrat proposal, and it will not get sufficient votes, and the same thing here on this sighted, and the clock will tick, and tomorrow on the last day the president is going to call people over to the white house to see if we can address it. where was he in the last year? >> and bromance? a few days into dennis rodman's historic trip into north korea. the former nba bad boy has
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reportedly told supreme leader kim jong un he has a friend for life. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. in just an hour he will become pope ameritus. greeting the faithful from that balcony of his new home, the temporary home pope benedict said thank you to the thousands who had turned out to say good-bye. in the final hours of his papacy, the pope met with the cardinals who will be choosing his successor, noting that the next pope is among them. new york cardinal timothy dolan is rumored to be a contender, but in an interview with savannah guthrie today he laughed off the very idea of it. >> i would be remiss if i didn't ask you what you think the chances are that you walk into this sistine chapel behind us as cardinal and come out the next pope. >> about the same as me take a-rod's place for the yankees. >> there's a new york analogy for you. ann thompson live from the
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vatican, and joins me now. ann, what an extraordinary day. i can't even imagine being in your shoes, and they're not red pradas, i assume. >> no. >> seeing all this take place. what is the emotional part of this, and also that very interesting message that he pledged basically obedience to his successor. he is not going to be quarterbacking from the sidelines. >> no, and i think he tried to make that very clear today, andrea. i think two things about this day. we have seen pope benedict sort of ad lib his final day. he wasn't supposed to make a speech to the cardinals today, and he decided to make that speech. anybody who is wondering how catholic church would deal with a pope and a pope ameritus, he made it very clear that he is going to step back, step away
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from power, he is going to live a life of prayer and meditation. that was the first thing. the second thing i was struck by was watching him at castle gondolpho and when he came out on to the balcony, and it's the first time i've ever seen him without a prepared text in front of him, and just spoke from his heart, and he said, you know, i'm no longer pope. i am now a pilgrim on the last stage of my journey. he has always been a very humble man, known as the man who was a reluctant pope. he wanted to retire when he worked for john paul ii, asked him, john 35u8 ii, would not let that happen. he became pope after john paul ii died, but he never seemed to enjoy it the way john paul ii did, who was an actor. benedict is a scholar, a theologian, an intellectual, and today you could see the humility that those who know him very well say have always marked this
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85-year-old man. >> certainly describing himself as a pilgrim is really extraordinary, and you get the feeling that the crowd, the audiences were responding to him in an emotional way that they hadn't previously. that i guess it's the moment the history, but also the sadness. i mean, this is a very bittersweet moment. >> well, it's -- it is. that's exactly the way to describe it. you know, it's interesting in st. peters square, they had the big jumbotrons out there, and people were gathered around and were actually silent in st. peters square watching what happened, and the last time i heard that kind of silence in st. peters square it was when they announced the death of john paul ii. you never heard a cell phone go off. you never heard anybody have a cell phone conversation, and on the in st. peters square where the helicopter lifted off, they had -- everybody started to applaud. then he goes to castle
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gondolpho, and you could see sisters crying and wiping their eyes as he blessed them and then left and for all intense and purposes what we believe is his last public appearance. zoom p those pictures of that helicopter over the roof tops of rome. just an amazing day. visually, emotionally, and for more than one billion people, this is a religious moment as well. >> you know, look at this. he is flag over the coliseum. think of what that moment is. 2,000 years ago in that building people were persecuted for believing in jesus christ. now 2,000 years later that building is in ruins. the christian faith is still strong. he is the leader of the catholic faith flying over that. i thought the symbolism of that moment was really breathtaking. >> thank you very much, ann. we'll talk to you later in the show as well. >> for the first time also in rome today the u.s. is going to
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provide direct aid to the syrian rebels fighting the assad regime, but it is nonlethal aide, not the weapons, that the rebels really want. john kerry made the official announcement in rome from the conference there with the syrian opposition leaders. nbc's ayman mojadin is in cairo. they have to put a good face on it because they need the money, but they may have wanted a whole lot more. >> that's correct. in fact, they were threatening to boycott the meeting going into thursday's planned meeting in rome because they wanted guarantees that their demands were going to be met. now, among those demands, as you mentioned, theymented to tip the balance of power many terms of the fighting that has taken place on the ground. to do that they need the armed op sfwligs to have better weapons and to have more assistance in their fighting infrastructure. well, they didn't get that today, and so they were privately disappointed, but nonetheless publicly. they are describing the meeting as cautiously optimistic.
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in fact, i was speaking to the spokesperson of the coalition a short while ago. he said that there was a qualitative difference in how secretary of state john kerry approached the meeting. the seriousness was very different than what they have seen in the past, and they described this as the first of many steps to come in which the armed opposition is going to get some assistance from the united states and western allies. the next thing they are calling for is for the european union to lift the arms embargo on the opposition so that they can start acquiring the weapons they need to tip that balance of power. they say there is no way that a political solution can be reached inside syria, so long as president bashar al assad's calculations aren't changed, and they say they will not be changed unless the opposition can step up the fighting and put more pressure on the regime. andrea. >> thank you so much. now joining us for further p p guidance on all of this is a former ambassador to iraq christopher hill, who is now
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dean of the school at the university of denver, and also ambassador nicolas burns, former under secretary of state for political affairs, now with harvard ae kennedy school. welcome both. first of all, chris hill, to you. you were in iraq, and, of course, before that all during bosnia, that was part of your portfolio and other posts as well. we are told that it's going to be nonlethal aid, but at the same time no one is denying a report in the "new york times" today that there is already training of these rebels going on at a base somewhere in the region. chris, can you give us some guidance on that? there's a lot more here than meets the eye. we're also told, by the way, that france and britain are going to fill in the gap with other forms of military equipment. >> well, it's hard to speak to all these various rumors, but i think you're absolutely right. there is more here than meets the eye. i think it's a very important step for the united states. it's obviously a step to get closer to these groups, closer to these groups on the ground,
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get a sense of who they are, and to some extent increase our leverage. i think it's an important policy step, and i think nabbedably it starts with nonlethal assistance, and i think we have to kind of take it one step at a time, but i suspect the movement will be more quickly -- more quick than it's been in the past. i think the real issue, though, is it suggests that there's a view in the u.s. government that if not getting to the end game or the beginning of the end, certainly there's a sense that the screws turn here and that we are moving on to a different era. i still believe, however, though, that even though there is no political solution there, it's very clear the assad regime really cannot be part of it at this point. i really do believe, though, that there does need to be an understanding of what the political arrangements are going to be in the future. what you like to do is get
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political arrangements so people understand what are the constitutional arrangements, how are they going to live under a sunni majority government? how are the syrian christians, the kurds, et cetera, and the alawhites as well. there has to be some better articulation of what the political arrangements are so that once everybody gets what they're heading to, people don't want to be the last person to die in a civil war. >> thn take it step by step. does that make sense to you? >> i think it does. i think chris was saying this was a necessary course correction by the administration.
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the united states needs to be a more visible and active leader in uniting all those countries -- saudi arabia, turkey, qatar, the european countries -- that want to help push assad out as quick as possible and help to develop relationship with rebel groups so when assad does lee, we have a capacity to have some influence. it will push eventually the administration to do even more towards lethal aid, to more pragmatic and responsible rebel groups. the first is the presence of chemical weapons, a significant stock in syria. if they should go get into the hands of some of the radical groups, that's going to be a major problem for the united states. second, the prospect of a wider war. if this continues another six months, andrea, with all these refugees spilling across the border to turkey and iraq and jordan, there is the possibility of destabilization of lebanon. the united states does not want to see that happen. i think those two factors will lead us to eventually do more, and it's very important i think
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secretary kerry's -- i think secretary kerry is pointing towards a much more vigorous role for us diplomatically that is badly needed, so i see this as a very good day for the united states, but more to come m future. >> some would say already that this is too little and too late. marco rubio, this is what he had to say yesterday. >> there are plenty of weapons in syria. they're coming from other countries and being confiscated. what the opposition really needs is access to ammunition. snoo what would be wrong in giving them ammunition and some of the other military equipment that they need? apparently we understand that other allies are going to fill in this gap, but why can't the u.s. be more forward leaning so
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we eventually have a better relationship with these opposition leaders who look like they will be the future of syria? >> well, again, i think that is what secretary kerry has initiated with this move. i mean, he is trying to get to know these people much better. there are a lot of different groups there, and some of those groups you do not want to be giving weapons to or ammunition to. i think the idea is to try to work with them, get a sense of how they see the eventual outcome and provide them with some of the equipment they may need. now, i can assure you, though, in the context of this nonlethal assistance we are very much taking inventory of what might be necessary in the lethal context, but i think this is a logical first step, and i think secretary kerry is putting pace on the ball here, and i think he is looking ahead.
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i any we need to be very xwernd what the affect is in western iraq and other -- and lebanon as well, and, again, we need to see what the final sort of political outcome is going to look like. are we going to hard wire into a constitution, the notion that the sunnis run the country and that the all owi tes have a position as head of parliament. are we going to hard wire it as it is in lebanon? is it going to be soft-wired as it is in iraq where there's a kind of spoil system among the various factions? there has to be a real look at this and the way to get a look at it and the way to work with people is to begin to provide them assistance. >> briefly, nick, is it already too late for us to have a big influence? >> not too late. the united states has a lot of power in the region.
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i'm not sure it's as simple as senator rubio is suggesting. the syrian opposition is being outgunned. they need better technology. assad has air superiority, so he is pummelling civilian neighbors from the air. down the road alternative could be a no flight zone. i don't think that is something that can be cast aside. that would really neutralize assad's military power. >> nick burns, chris hill, two of the best. thank you very, very much. >> thank you. >> up next, in our daily fix, sequester showdown. where do we go from here? plus, how will the budget cuts impact hurricane sandy relief? housing secretary sean donovan joining us next on "andrea mitchell reports." ] with so many toothbrushes to choose from, my patients don't know which one to use. i tell them to use the brand i use. oral-b -- the brush originally created by a dentist. trust the brand more dentists and hygienists use. oral-b.
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all the things we love about sunday meals into each of her pot pies. like tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a golden flaky crust that's made from scratch. marie callender's pot pies. it's time to savor.
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federal agencies are now warning about potentially
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devastating impacts from the automatic budget cuts, the so-called sequester, that is kicking many tomorrow. sean donovan is the secretary of house and urban development. thanks very much, mr. secretary. i know you have a lot on your plate. let's talk about what you have warned is the most immediate urgent problem, which is the sandy aid, the relief to all of those families up and down the coast who have been strug lingeven to get their homes rebuilt and woefully lacking in a lot of support. what will this sequester mean to them? >> to be very specific, $3 billion in aid to the region will be cut. >> it will mean construction workers who will be rebuilding tunnels and train tracks and other infrastructure in the
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region. it is a tashl substantial impact, but it's not the only impact. in addition to the recovery from a natural disaster, we're still recovering from the economic disaster of our housing crisis, and my agency through fha is responsible for about a quarter of all new loans for homeowners, for rental apartments, and with the slowdown in processing there, there's a risk that the recovery we've seen over the last year in housing market is going to be put at risk. sandy is certainly one of the beg problems, but there are many others as well that would be affected with this. >> mr. secretary, does this -- do these cuts kick in right away, or are they gradually phased in? the washington post, among others, have suggested and certainly republicans have suggested that you all are exaggerating the immediate impact to try to upset people, and i want to give you a chance to respond to that. >> well, andrea, we're just trying to be honest with the american people. this is a real threat. as the president said, not all
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of these effects will be felt at once. the effect will build over time. individuals and families that use our housing vouchers to help pay the rent. over half of them are elderly people are disabilities. every month that a housing authority waits to decide to implement those cuts, they have to add another family because the longer they go, the fewer months of savings there are, the more families they have to cut off. the effects will definitely be felt immediately, and by waiting in many ways we make it worse. there are real families, real lives that are on the line. >> how much discretion do you have? i know automatic cuts are across the board, but can't you put sandy relief in some emergency category so that it is not affected with the $3 billion cut
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you were just talking about? >> andrea, that's the nature -- that's why these cuts were never intended to be put into effect. they're indiscriminate. they're across the board. sandy is covered. every program in the agency would feel some affect, and that's ironically if a family that loses a housing voucher, a homeless veteran. we have $100,000 individuals that we help to get off the streets. if they fall back on to the streets, they become homeless again, the irony of this had is in many ways it will cost the taxpayer more. it's not only wrong from a moral point of view, but the shelter costs, those families are going to end up in emergency rooms. they're going to be all kinds of costs that come because of this sort of indiscriminate nature of these cuts, and we simply don't have the flebsibility under this to be able to make the smarter choices here. that's really what is so devastating about this. >> i hear you. so basically you're saying to the people in breezy point and
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far rockaway and along the jersey shore, the people who have hideous construction and continual problems, some without heat for all of these months, that the failure of the white house and congress to come to an agreement means that they're going to lose whatever aid they finally have been getting? >> the president fought hard. he put forward a $60 billion package. he got it through because that's what we thought we needed. let's be clear. the president has put forward a plan that says -- all we have to do is close loopholes in our tax code. all we have to do is ask that everybody pays their fair share. we shouldn't let families that have been hit by a hurricane, we shouldn't let veterans who have served our country, who are going to end up being put back out on the streets, they shouldn't be the only ones to be feeling the impact. we have to have a more balanced
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approach, and that's exactly what the president has put forward. >> sean donovan, secretary of housing and urban development. thanks. >> thanks, andrea. >> there has been minimal movement, it seems, in stopping that sequester from hitting. that is unless you can count a 60 second meeting, that's right, 60 seconds, look at it, between president obama and gop leaders after the rosa parks statue on capitol hill. an accidental encounter, apparently. joining me for our daily fix, chris calizza, managing editor of post politics.com and amy walter, national editor for the cook political report. chris, first to you. that picture does speak 1,000 words, doesn't it? that's the only -- first and only time we've seen them all together in recent weeks or months. >> if the picture wasn't enough, andrea, the fact that you mentioned that it lasted 60 seconds, that's not -- that fits the definition of meeting in
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only the loosest sense. this is just like president obama's calls earlier in the week to mitch mcconnell and john boehner. i think it's so they can say that that they made the calls. i don't know for how long it will be in place. at the moment this looks like sort of political posturing, political jockeying for the debate to come. the real debate -- the real negotiation that we hope and assume might come post the sequester to kicking in and prewhen the government could shut down if an agreement isn't reached. it's almost -- we were talking earlier like a boy who cried wolf deal where, yeah, there's this fight and then they back off, and then they come up with -- and then will this begin
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to be felt in coming dpaz, or is it still going to be a so what? >> well, it was interesting to hear the secretary admit. it was pretty graphic, and then to your follow-up question, he sort of admitted, well, it's not going to happen immediately. even the president yesterday came out and said this isn't like a fiscal cliff. it's more like a gradual decline. the question is are people going to feel it tomorrow? are we going to wake up on friday and say, oh, my gosh, the world has come to an end? no. the question is at what point are people going to start seeing an impact? i don't think it's going to be immediately. then that goes to the question of, well, how does the president continue to rachet this up? it is clear that the public is worn out from the washington speak. when i sit down with a lot of these focus groups, talk to real voters out there, they do -- they have absolutely no idea how or why they should care about this. this is not impact -- they're not seeing their day to day lives. idealogical battles over the
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budget is not getting their kids braces, and that's what they're worried about right now, how they're going to pay for things like that. >> as you and i have been discussing, chris, we see this in the poll, but we also see that there's kind of pocks on both your houses reaction here. where republicans are getting blamed more, yes, but the republican has taken a bit of a hit. >> most polling suggests that before we go into the sequester and the theory is making after the sequester hits, this will change. who knows? pre sequester, what we can talk about now, republicans get more blame, but president obama gets a fair amount of the blame too. you know, my guess is on this -- amy is exactly right. i think the only people following this stuff really closely, andrea, are partisans on both sides, and we already know what they think, and they already know what they think, and nothing is going to change that. for the kind of person in the middle to accept that exists anymore, but the person in the middle, you know, i think they're kind of not paying attention. i think president obama not
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getting as much congressional -- is more a facet of president obama is more popular right now broadly than congressional republicans are. on something you don't really know what it is, you're more likely to side with them. >> if you are coming up in 2014, you really have to be watch this and thinking, okay, what on earth do i sell for my re-election? what have i done in washington to make people's lives better? right now they think all of these guys are making it tougher for them. >> amy walter and chris, thank you both very much. >> thank you. >> up next who will be the next leader of the catholic church? we'll go live to rome as the task of choosing pope benedict's successor begins. to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend. ♪ things are definitely looking up. [ male announcer ] with no blackout dates,
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sign up for your free trial today at constantcontact.com/try. what sdt future hold for the former mr. pope? a second career seems out of the question. he can't be a wall mart greeter. that's not going to -- gatorade is in aisle eight.
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>> ann thompson is back with me. they had the wrong part of that there. ann, i was trying to show the part that included you. we got that messed up. sorry. i just want to see you reacting because you were on john stewart last night. >> that's hysterical. >> yes, indeed. what is next for the pope? tell me about the conclave. they're going to meet on monday and apparently then decide when the conclave will begin? >> yeah. i think what you will see over the weekend -- this is sort of a getting to know you period for the cardinals. the pope benedict apointed 57% of the cardinals, and so that means they've only been elevated in the last eight years. they don't know each other well. that involves both the cardinal elector. those are those under the age of 08 1k3 those over the age of 80,
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and in those meetings they discussed the state of the church, and have all kinds of things to talk about. we belief the first thing on their agenda will be when to get the conclave underway, and that's when the vote -- that's when the voting begins and those cardinals under the age of 80 go into st. martha's house and live a sequestered in the correct term of the usage of the word -- a sequester existence until they come out with the next pope. >> and we're not talking budget cuts. i think there will be -- snoo no, we're not. >> living well, eating well. no problem for them in martha's house. >> you know, i got to tell you, actually st. martha's house is a little better than a dormitory, i am told. >> really? >> john paul ii had it constructed specifically -- >> you look at this beautiful place and you think of all this elegance, and that is a very simple existence, i am told, and i think there are 105, 106 suites. there are 115 cardinals, so that means, you know, nine cardinals
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get those -- the sort of standard rooms in a hotel, and the rest of them get basically a bedroom a little lig area and a bathroom. it's all done by lots. it's not by seniority. they draw lots, and that's how they determine who gets what room. >> ann, these are the kind of details that we absolutely love and, by the way, we do have that clip from the daily show, so just take a look. >> all right. i used to do it over there because that's what god wanted. any other perks that the pope might be losing? >> those red prada shoes that he is so very fond of, well, they go. >> that's got to hurt. no greater insult to a man in italy. >> you know -- >> now, i have to tell you something. he was rumored -- i misspoke. he was rumored to have prada shoes, and it turns out that his shoes are actually -- the
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current shoes, the shoes he is wearing now and will give up at 8:00 are made by a local artisan here. they are not prada shoes. but they are red. >> they are not prada shoes, and you have -- see, you have gotten to the bottom of it all. thank you so much, ann. i know you've got a million important things to do today other than just schmoozing with us, but we love seeing you, and thanks very much. thank you, ann. >> thanks accident andrea. >> coming up, a major step in a very serious fight. the fight against sexual assaults in the military. kirsten gillibrand leading the way. more next. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling?
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the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation. they're coming. yeah. british. later. sorry. ok...four words... scarecrow in the wind... a baboon... monkey? hot stew saturday!? ronny: hey jimmy, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? jimmy: happier than paul revere with a cell phone. ronny: why not? anncr: get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. >> there are an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults in the military each year. yet, according to pentagon officials, only a fraction of those incidents are reported. congress last investigated this issue almost a decade ago until now. new york senator kirsten
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gillibrand chairs the subcommittee on personnel and has just announced a hearing on march 13th where she will hear from victims of this growing epidemic for the first time. she joins me now. senator, thank you very much. tell me what you want to know about this epidemic really. continuing epidemic, mostly men on women. >> yeah. andrea, as you said, their estimated 19,000 sexual assaults a year in the military, but only a fraction are reported. about 2,400 were record last year, and of those only about 240 went to trial. >> away we really need is accountability and much more transparency. we need it to be a safe place for men and women to serve, and we need to show that we can protect the men and women that are searching in the military, so this hearing is going to shine a light on what the problem is, what are the solutions, and what needs to be done to make sure men and women can serve without the concern for being sexually assaulted by other men or women in the
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military. >> now, the different services also have different rules about how to handle complaints and how to punish. tell me about that because i was reeling reading a horrific story in the "new york times" about a series of incidents with one perpetrator, allegedly at lakeland air force base. >> yes. right now there isn't a consistent way to treat these assaults, and so we want to make sure that the women have a safe place to report the assault to the first instance. we want to make sure they're taken seriously, fully investigated. we want to marcs after the trial and any conviction that those cases are all handled in the same way regardless of what service that those cases took place. that's one of the problems that we have because of the lack of consistency, one-third of men who have been convicted are actually still serving, and that's a problem because what experts on sexual assault have said is that oftentimes these criminals -- this criminal behavior is repeated. >> what you have uncovered so far and it's very difficult, i'm
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sure, for these women, mostly women, as you have said, to be testifying at this hearing that you are going to hold, what have you found so far from the pentagon in terms of its responsiveness, the joint chiefs, and i know, of course, the new secretary of defense who just took over yesterday? >> well, this is something that secretary panetta took very seriously, and he not only declared there be zero tolerance, but he began to change the rules, so initially if you were sexually assaulted, you would have to report that to your commander. your commander could have been your assailant, or your commander could be friends with your asal yant. oftentimes those women who were then tried for committing adultery, even if they weren't married. the way it's treated and the way it's reported, we're going to look at that to see if it's good enough and maybe if it needs to be reported outside of the command structure entirely. that's one of the issues we'll cover in the hearings. there's a lot of other changes that still need to be made. for example, it's important that a woman who has sexual assault claim can be transferred quickly. that's a change they have begun
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to make. we have to keep looking boo what can make it easier for a woman who is sexually assault. one change we made in the last armed services authorization bill was to make sure if a woman was pregnant because of a rape that she could actually have access to an abortion on a military base. we want to expand that one step further and say she can have access to an abortion on a military base whether or not she decides to disclose the rape so that she can keep her privacy and even use her own money. there's more work that needs to be done to guarantee that these women and men who are sexually assaulted are protected and can remain in the military and feel that they are hurt and receive justice. >> senator gillibrand, it's so important. thank you for what you are doing, and we'll stay on it. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back. by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how about...by the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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the bill was introduced by a republican congressman chairman ed royce of the house foreign affairs committee and the top democrat on that panel, congressman elliott engel, and they are here today jointly. it's great to see a democrat and republican together doing anything, and this, first of all, against iran, but before we go there, i want to ask you quickly about the announcement today from secretary kerry in rome about syria. is this enough? you have in the past called for arming the syrian rebels, syrian opposition. is it enough to give them nonlethal aid? >> let me make an observation, and part of this is the work of our ranking member elliott engel, the aultor of the syrian accountability act. his pressure to make certain that we don't have a situation where iran, as you know right now, is trying to prop up assad. iran has forces on the ground assisting assad, as does
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hezbollah. it is his judgment that we should be pushing harder, and i agree with him, and at this point you see the administration coming around today and saying, okay, we can give nonmilitary aid, but aid that will help the syrian opposition counsel. aid that will help the free syrian army. this will counter balance the iranian support there, and i think will expedite the time frame in which assad is removed and will also include the united states with europe in our efforts to work with civil society in syria in order to repair the damage and cut off iran's last ally that exists in the middle east. >> well, congressman engel, you've been leading the way on this. is this step enough? >> by the way, i'm glad you mentioned the bipartisanship. this is the most bipartisanship you'll find on capitol hill these days. i'm happy to be a part of it.
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i think the foreign policy where possible should be bipartisan. we all know that iran is a bad player. we know that they are the leading supporter of terrorism around the world. we know that assad is a big iran ally. if assad and syria were to fall, that it certainly would be a blow to the iranian regime as well. assad has murdered his own people. 70,000 people. he has displaced three-quarters of a million syrians and the humanitarian crisis among the syrian people. so we need to do in my opinion everything we can to get him out of syria as quickly as possible, and i think what secretary kerry announced is a good first step, and i commend secretary kerry for it, but i do think that ultimately we are going to have to supply some kind of weapons to the syria free army and i will be introducing legislation next week to enable us to do so.
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>> and, finally, chairman royce, the iran sanctions bill, do you think that that will get through congress? >> i do think so. i think that the members of the house and the senate on both sides of the aisle certainly are very, very concerned about the attempts to miniaturize a weapon, the attempts to develop a three stage icbm in iran, and at the same time the fact that the centrifuges, you know, continue to spin, and so in light of that, we have seen times in our history when sanctions really worked effectively. one of them was the bipartisan work done on south africa under apartheid, which not only changed the government there, but also put an end to the atomic weapon that had been produced by the government in south africa. the apartheid government gave up that weapon. i think if we can move forward with these particular sanctions, which are focused on additional pressure on the central bank and
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on hard currency, reducing the time frame for governments to wean themselves off of iranian petroleum. they're reducing every month the amount of. >> twoef leave it there. thank you both very much. >> finally, there is only one museum in one musician playing key diplomatic role in the cold war. not once but twice. that's the extraordinary legacy as well as the musical legacy of the piano prodigy van cliburn. he took moscow by storm in 1958. this only months after the russians had beaten the pants
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off of america launching sputnik, the first satellite in to space. when he won the piano competition, it was a huge boost for american morale. ♪ he beat them at their own game, playing rush why's most famous composer and returned home, given a ticker tape parade up broadway. just think of it. and then three decades later, the reclusive pianist played at the white house for the last soviet leader and his wife. at their first state dinner at the white house. the summit had not been going well but he had an answer. he performed one of the famous folk songs. i was there covering it all for nbc news. and you could feel the ice of the cold war melting at that very moment. all orchestrated, of course, by
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nancy reagan and knew how to do these things. they responded and the rest as they say is history. van cliburn died after a long struggle with bone cancer. he was 78. i'm phyllis, and i have diabetic nerve pain. when i first felt the diabetic nerve pain, of course, i had no idea what it was. i felt like my feet were going to sleep. it progressed from there to burning like i was walking on hot coals to like a thousand bees that were just stinging my feet. i have a great relationship with my doctor. he found lyrica for me. [ female announcer ] it's known that diabetes damages nerves. lyrica is fda approved to treat diabetic nerve pain. lyrica is not for everyone. it may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, changes in eye sight including blurry vision,
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and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." up next, live coverage on this historic day. pope benedict's resignation is official. sunsets on the era. in moments when the door will close and the swiss guards end their duty of protecting benedict xvi. that's all next on "news nation" with craig melvin. about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine...
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